Milky Way

(The). A great circle of stars entirely surrounding the heavens. They are so crowded together that they appear to the naked eye like a “way” or stream of faint “milky” light. The Galaxy or Via Lactea.

A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear,
Seen in the galaxy- that Milky Way,
Thick, nightly, as a circling zone, thou seest
Powdered with stars.

Milton: Paradise Lost, vii. 577, etc.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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